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Duquesne Light renews commitment to McKeesport

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 3:21 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, community development director Bethany Bauer and city administrator Matt Gergely review Duquesne Light's site plan for the construction of a service center in the RIDC Riverplace Industrial Center of McKeesport.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Duquesne Light's site plan for a service center in the RIDC Riverplace Industrial Center of McKeesport includes a design for the planned office building.

Duquesne Light is set to move its Tenth Ward service center a short distance down the Monongahela River to the RIDC Riverplace Industrial Center of McKeesport.

McKeesport council on Wednesday will consider a site plan for an office building, warehouse, truck bay and maintenance garage along Industry Road on the former U.S. Steel National Tube millsite.

The plan already has received the city planning commission's blessing.

The total project area is an estimated 28,000 square feet, with construction to include pre-engineered metal buildings with masonry.

“The project itself will be a replacement of the existing service center for Duquesne Light on a brand new site on the RIDC park,” said Evan L. Hoover, chief estimator with Michael Baker Jr. Inc., which has been retained to design the facility and manage construction.

“It would be basically a program-for-program replacement. The intention is to provide the same amount of storage, the same amount of parking for vehicles, to provide the same level of service that they have now, but in a much better, more modern facility.”

Hoover, speaking on behalf of Duquesne Light Co. during Tuesday's caucus, explained to council that the project is in the design-development process. His firm submitted the site plan to the planning commission, building inspector Chris House and engineering firm Garvin Engineering and Municipal Management.

McKeesport's planning ordinances require three conditions on which the site plan's approval would be contingent:

• Drawings sealed by a professional engineer.

• A recorded 911 address for the proposed facility.

• Confirmation that all required tap-in fees have been paid.

City officials are optimistic about Duquesne Light's decision to move forward with an RIDC property.

“We as city council thank you for keeping us in your plans and relocating within the city of McKeesport,” president Darryl Segina said, and asked Hoover to pass that message to Duquesne Light.

Mayor Michael Cherepko said it's exciting any time a company extends its commitment to a local economy.

“They already have a commitment to McKeesport, but to know that they're making a long-term commitment to stay within the city is extremely beneficial,” Cherepko said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with them.”

Community development director Bethany Bauer said moving the facility into the downtown area may stimulate business.

“Activity on the RIDC millsite will spur additional activity, both on the site and within the downtown district,” Bauer said.

Duquesne Light's employees likely will eat lunch in downtown restaurants or patronize other businesses, she explained.

City officials said the 2011 construction of a flyover ramp into McKeesport's RIDC park paved the way for Duquesne Light's project and hopefully more in the future.

Cherepko said there are “possible things in the works, but nothing concrete” for development of the former EchoStar/DishNetwork call center and other properties on the RIDC site.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

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